Archive - January, 2011

The Glory of Plodding

I don’t repost many articles…BUT if you love Jesus & His Church – this is a MUST READ.

The Glory of Plodding

by Kevin DeYoung

It’s sexy among young people — my generation — to talk about ditching institutional religion and starting a revolution of real Christ-followers living in real community without the confines of church. Besides being unbiblical, such notions of churchless Christianity are unrealistic. It’s immaturity actually, like the newly engaged couple who think romance preserves the marriage, when the couple celebrating their golden anniversary know it’s the institution of marriage that preserves the romance. Without the God-given habit of corporate worship and the God-given mandate of corporate accountability, we will not prove faithful over the long haul.

What we need are fewer revolutionaries and a few more plodding visionaries. That’s my dream for the church — a multitude of faithful, risktaking plodders. The best churches are full of gospel-saturated people holding tenaciously to a vision of godly obedience and God’s glory, and pursuing that godliness and glory with relentless, often unnoticed, plodding consistency.

My generation in particular is prone to radicalism without followthrough. We have dreams of changing the world, and the world should take notice accordingly. But we’ve not proved faithful in much of anything yet. We haven’t held a steady job or raised godly kids or done our time in VBS or, in some cases, even moved off the parental dole. We want global change and expect a few more dollars to the ONE campaign or Habitat for Humanity chapter to just about wrap things up. What the church and the world needs, we imagine, is for us to be another Bono — Christian, but more spiritual than religious and more into social justice than the church. As great as it is that Bono is using his fame for some noble purpose, I just don’t believe that the happy future of the church, or the world for that matter, rests on our ability to raise up a million more Bonos (as at least one author suggests). With all due respect, what’s harder: to be an idolized rock star who travels around the world touting good causes and chiding governments for their lack of foreign aid, or to be a line worker at GM with four kids and a mortgage, who tithes to his church, sings in the choir every week, serves on the school board, and supports a Christian relief agency and a few missionaries from his disposable income?

Until we are content with being one of the million nameless, faceless church members and not the next globe-trotting rock star, we aren’t ready to be a part of the church. In the grand scheme of things, most of us are going to be more of an Ampliatus (Rom. 16:8) or Phlegon (v. 14) than an apostle Paul. And maybe that’s why so many Christians are getting tired of the church. We haven’t learned how to be part of the crowd. We haven’t learned to be ordinary. Our jobs are often mundane. Our devotional times often seem like a waste. Church services are often forgettable. That’s life. We drive to the same places, go through the same routines with the kids, buy the same groceries at the store, and share a bed with the same person every night. Church is often the same too — same doctrines, same basic order of worship, same preacher, same people. But in all the smallness and sameness, God works — like the smallest seed in the garden growing to unbelievable heights, like beloved Tychicus, that faithful minister, delivering the mail and apostolic greetings (Eph. 6:21). Life is usually pretty ordinary, just like following Jesus most days. Daily discipleship is not a new revolution each morning or an agent of global transformation every evening; it’s a long obedience in the same direction.

It’s possible the church needs to change. Certainly in some areas it does. But it’s also possible we’ve changed — and not for the better. It’s possible we no longer find joy in so great a salvation. It’s possible that our boredom has less to do with the church, its doctrines, or its poor leadership and more to do with our unwillingness to tolerate imperfection in others and our own coldness to the same old message about Christ’s death and resurrection. It’s possible we talk a lot about authentic community but we aren’t willing to live in it.

The church is not an incidental part of God’s plan. Jesus didn’t invite people to join an anti-religion, anti-doctrine, anti-institutional bandwagon of love, harmony, and re-integration. He showed people how to live, to be sure. But He also called them to repent, called them to faith, called them out of the world, and called them into the church. The Lord “didn’t add them to the church without saving them, and he didn’t save them without adding them to the church” (John Stott).

“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Cor. 13:7). If we truly love the church, we will bear with her in her failings, endure her struggles, believe her to be the beloved bride of Christ, and hope for her final glorification. The church is the hope of the world — not because she gets it all right, but because she is a body with Christ for her Head.

Don’t give up on the church. The New Testament knows nothing of churchless Christianity. The invisible church is for invisible Christians. The visible church is for you and me. Put away the Che Guevara t-shirts, stop the revolution, and join the rest of the plodders. Fifty years from now you’ll be glad you did.


http://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/glory-plodding/
What are your thoughts?

ONE Word Resolutions

Each January 1 we make New Years Resolutions…but by February 1 we’re doing good to even remember what we resolved to change, lose, accomplish, or cut out!  Here’s an easy way that my wife has influenced me in making Resolutions doable, simple, & most of all successful.

Just commit to ONE NEW WORD for the year!

Katie’s new word is SIMPLICITY.  She’s already started with helping me to clean the garage.  We sold the Air Hockey table for $25 (it was a free gift a few years back) to make room to finally park her car “in” the garage.  She has told me she plans on simplifying the number of adopting families she follows through Google Reader  to make more time for reading & meditating on Scripture.  Finally she is simplifying her closet & our house even more.  We took another load to Thrift Smart just this last week!

My new word for the year is a tough one.  I hesitate to even put it out there because I’m already anxious when I think about sticking with it for 356 days.  But I need the accountability, so here goes…PRAYER.  I want to concentrate on “doing” less & “praying” more in 2011.  Well not really, but I know I need to do this.  My natural tendency is to work, work, work & to make it happen.  Let me introduce myself, I’m Mr. Responsibility, which means I can’t just let stuff go.  But sometimes I need to.  Sometimes I need to be less critical of others & most of all myself.

So I’m committing to spend the year PRAYING that God will direct me.  Serving others by committing to PRAY for them.  And PRAYING that God will do far more through the power of PRAYER and the work of the Holy Spirit, than I can do on my own.  It’s not going to be easy because it’s not a natural tendency for me.  But I know it’s going to be exciting, challenging, maybe frustrating at times, but most of all fruitful.

Finally the boys (all 3 of them) have a One Word Resolution as well.  No they didn’t pick it, and I’m sure they’re not that happy about it just yet, but it is going to be a good one for all of us…RESPECT.  Katie kicked it off for them today at lunch by writing out Ephesians 4:32, placing it in a picture frame on our Kitchen Table, and encouraging all of us to memorize a verse a week.  It goes like this, “Be KIND to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you (ESV).

Stay tuned later this week.  I’m going to be writing about LIFE CORE VALUES.  I think you’ll be encouraged to see how you can find synergy & life long growth as a result of committing to LIFE CORE VALUS.  Stay tuned!

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is on fire!.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 5,300 times in 2010. That’s about 13 full 747s.

 

In 2010, there were 12 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 36 posts. There were 18 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 60mb. That’s about 2 pictures per month.

The busiest day of the year was September 14th with 183 views. The most popular post that day was Sometimes God Races Across the Clouds….

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were dunlapadoption.com, facebook.com, greenhillschurch.org, Google Reader, and mail.yahoo.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for istock, magic the gathering cards, compass, discipleship ideas, and istock large.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Sometimes God Races Across the Clouds… September 2010
2 comments

2

The Compass or the Clock June 2009

3

Confession Is Such a Relief November 2010
4 comments

4

Can You Really Believe the Bible…If So Why? June 2009

5

Faith & Doubt July 2010
2 comments